Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, the Democratic nominee for governor says his Republican opponent, state Attorney General Tom Corbett is flip-flopping on his high-profile pledge to not raise taxes if elected. Corbett told a Pittsburgh radio station in March that his pledge includes state fees. A Corbett spokesman told Capitolwire.com yesterday that the pledge does not include fees.
Onorato, in a conference call with reporters this morning, called that "just the latest example of Tom flip-flopping every time the pressure builds." Onorato, who called no-tax pledges "political gimmicks," insisted he would try to balance the state's budget without raising income taxes, sales taxes or fees.
"I’ve made it very clear that Pennsylvania families are hurting," Onorato said. "This is no time to be talking about new taxes or fees."
Corbett and Onorato will surely be trading more punches on the tax issue as we near the Nov. 2 general election. Corbett last month put out a fund-raising letter to supporters, assailing his "tax-raising opponent, Dan Onorato," a reference to the drink tax Onorato pushed through in Allegheny County for alcoholic beverages. Onorato yesterday fired off a statement calling Corbett the only candidate for governor who has raised property taxes, a reference to Corbett's vote in 1988 to raise property taxes while he was a Shaler Township commissioner in suburban Pittsburgh.
UPDATE, 1:40 pm: Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said the tax pledge, put forth by Americans for Tax Reform, does not include state fees and dismissed Onorato's observation that Corbett in March expanded the pledge to include those fees during his radio interview. "I find it interesting that Dan Onorato, who never met a tax he didn’t like or hike, criticizes Tom Corbett for a no-tax-pledge [Onorato] refused to sign," Harley said.